Warning: Here be spoilers.
I thought I’d offer some thought after having finished the last Harry Potter installation, The Deathly Hallows. Let me start off by taking my hat off to Ms. Rowling. Se has managed something remarkable, and in my book, having this kind of hysteria ’round a book in an age of TV and computers is certainly a good thing.
Let me also make it straight: I have really enjoyed the series. But it is easier to criticize, so if you think I’m being loop-handed in the rest of this post, please keep this paragraph in mind.
And while I’m at it: I know this is a children’s book. It is far too easy to judge it by grownup standards. I’ll try to limit my moaning about plot-devices accordingly, shall I?
The prediction game
So how did my predictions go? Fairly well I think, I nailed many general plot facts but missed their connections and or their setting. But, as I didn’t bother to write them down, you’ll just have to take my word for it (or ask Red-Eyed Jenna, I believe I discussed it with her at some point).
The Snape Question: Nailed it. Snape was good and killed the big D on order. I guessed one of the reasons would be to act as an insider for Harry, but that never happended. He also loved Lily Potter.
Snape’s death: Got it. However, I thought he deserved a big bang instead of a whimper, so I though he would play a crucial part in the last battle. I was, unfortunately, wrong there. I did predict a death-bed confession, which I’ll claim a Nostradamus-point for.
Dumbledore: Dead, yes.
Harry’s (non-) death: Nailed. I think there was three alternatives: (1) he dies; (2) he lives by some semi-cooked plot device; or (3) he looses his magical powers and becomes a muggle. But being a children’s boook I assume #2 would be the actual solution.
Horcruxes: I predicted Harry would be a Horcrux. Hm… Semi-right I guess.
Dating: Harry+Ginny and Ron+Hermione. Yes.
The redemption of Malfoy: Half-miss. I predicted his redemption, but though he would actively choose to “come over” to the right side. I still think that would have been better.
Here’s some notes on what I thought about the characters and their treatment through the book.
Harry: No big surprise. A little bit more mature, and it felt natural. Good.
Hermione: Surprisingly quiet. Unfortunately so. More of a side-kick this book. I had really thought her superior knowledge would be a major part in the last battle.
Ron: A terribly quick maturation, eh? And seriously, the chapter where he leaves H&H was completely out of place. -1 for plotting that one.
Snape: Ouch. Next to Harry and Dumbledore the most instrumental man in Voldermorts defeat. And one of the best characters. And the saddest. And bravest. And what do he get in the last book? Nothing. Damn shame if you ask me.
Luna: No surprises there.
Neville: Yet another quick maturation? However, Neville-the-freedom-fighter is a brilliant concept, so I’m buying it happily.
Ginny: Gone. Reduced to sidekick. Bleeding shame. The coolest girl in school, and the deadliest hexer on the block, dispatched to the shadows mooping over Harry? Sorry, I don’t believe it.
Bits ‘n pieces
Tying it all together is a massive job, and all in all I fairly happy with the end result. Harry did reach some sort of conclusion even though he should have paid a grater price (according to classical heroism).
The epilogue is terrible. What a waste of space. I’m actually sad I read it at all. There’s nothing to prepare the reader for a Harry, Ron, Hermione at age 37, with kids. No character development, no background. I understand the sentiment, but it could have been done other ways, leaving more place to tie up things we really want to know in immediate connection to the story.
Snape… I missed him. When he entered, it was too little too late. And having him go out in a whimper was… Sad. Which perhaps was the point, in which case: fair enough.
I realize there must be a new puzzle (ie. the Hallows), but really: We could have used the time it took to tell about those plot devices to fix up loose ends and deepen some of the characters.
The deaths. Did anyone die? I didn’t notice. Really. See the paragraph above, since none of the characters had been developed fully in the book, their demise went by unnoticed. Save perhaps Hedwig. Instead of snuffing one of the big names she kills a lot of middle-men. Well… *shrug*
Damn good stuff all in all. I’m happy I decided to read the series in the first place, it has been a pleasant journey. Can’t compare with Pullman or Stroud, but it is certainly money and time well spent.